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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Sep 19, 2012

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, September 19, 2012.

BB: We’ve had a few days here to work on the Ravens. They’re obviously an impressive football team. Going off last year, they did a lot of good things and they continue to do it. Always strong on defense, always good in the kicking game, very explosive offensively – made a lot of big plays to a lot of different people, they spread the ball around, they’ve gotten it down the field. They have a lot of good young players mixed in with some very experienced, good veteran players. Well coached, organization does a great job all the way to Ozzie [Newsome], Steve [Bisciotti], John [Harbaugh], of course Dean [Pees], Cam [Cameron], all those guys, they do a good job. It will be a great environment down there Sunday night. I’m looking forward to playing a good football team in a good environment. We have a lot to get ready for this week; that’s our goal.

Q: You have a lot of respect for Ed Reed on the football field. Do you know him personally off the field?

BB: I’ve had some interactions with him.

Q: Where does the amount of respect for him date back to?

BB: College and Pro Bowls – that’s probably where I spent the most time with him is the Pro Bowl.

Q: I know you’ve always liked Joe Flacco. Have you seen his growth to the point that it’s allowing their offense to do more things and be more open to things than before?

BB: He’s been pretty good since he came into the league. He’s been a productive guy for them. They have changed some. They’ve run no-huddle against us before – that isn’t new, but they’re doing more of it now. I think that Coach [Jim] Caldwell and Coach [Cam] Cameron have incorporated that in their offense, however that came about, and Joe does a good job of handling it and running it so he does a good job with it. I think every quarterback, every player grows and improves each year of their career – they should if they’re paying attention. I’m sure he’s had some personal and professional growth as well.

Q: You brought in Niko Koutouvides, Deion Branch and Kellen Winslow. Can you talk about each of them coming in?

BB: Niko and Deion have been with us. We feel like they’ll be able to help us in the roles that we can put them in, which are obviously the roles that they’ve been performing in in the past. We’ll see how Kellen fits in. I’ve never coached him before, don’t have any background with him, but [we] feel like he might have a chance to help us so that’s why he’s here.

Q: What is it about what you’ve seen from Kellen Winslow in the past that made you want to bring him in?

BB: He’s been productive. He’s been a productive player for quite awhile.

Q: The Ravens lost Terrell Suggs, but can you talk about how they look different this year than in years past?

BB: Again, defensively they’ve had some turnover. They’ve had some younger guys come in, for example in the secondary at corner. Lardarius Webb has emerged as a very good player; he’s been a big playmaker for them. He plays outside; they move him inside in the nickel package. Cary Williams, who isn’t a new player, but this is his second year as a starter so he’s certainly a new player for Baltimore and Jimmy Smith last year, so they have some new faces there at the corner position. Inside linebacker with [Jameel] McClain and Ray Lewis, that’s been steady here for a couple years, but they lost Jarret Johnson and Suggs is out, so they’ve had to make some changes there at the end of the line of scrimmage, however you want to look at it – Sam, crash end, rush end, that type of thing. [Haloti] Ngata has been a big force for them inside [and] continues to be. They’re very strong down the middle with Ngata and [Ed] Reed and Lewis of course. They bring Webb inside in their sub package. He’s another good, solid player for them. They use some different guys outside, [Paul] Kruger didn’t play last week, but he’s another young, developing player who is pretty good and of course [Courtney] Upshaw, [Albert] McClellan, so there are some new faces, some old faces and some guys that are entering their third, fourth, fifth seasons that are starting to emerge as solid players in their defense. That’s a big turnover – like any team though, it’s not surprising – from the last time we went down there and played them as an example, a lot of guys that aren’t on their defense [anymore], but that’s true of almost any team if you look five, six years back. But that was a great defense going back to their championship year and most of those players have been replaced; not Ray.

Q: Can you provide any more explanation about the drop in Wes Welker’s usage?

BB: I think if you look at his production through the time he’s been here, it’s been pretty consistent.

Q: I’m talking more about his usage than his production.

BB: That’s what I’m talking about.

Q: In terms of snaps?

BB: Yeah.

Q: What kind of void does not having Aaron Hernandez create?

BB: We have confidence in all our players. We have confidence in the players we put out there. Whatever group, whatever combination we put out there, we expect them to do well and we’re confident they will.

Q: Besides his obvious ability, why do you think Ray Lewis has been able to maintain a high level of play throughout his career?

BB: Ray’s smart, very smart, studies hard, very well prepared and he has good physical ability and he has great instincts for the game. He anticipates well, has great instincts for the feel for the game and timing and anticipation and things like that. Of course, a lot of that is his preparation and film study and experience and so forth, but you put all those things together, I think they all add up.

Q: Have you seen any sign that off the field distractions affected Rob Gronkowski’s play on Sunday? There’s a report out of New York that that played a role and I’m wondering what you think about that.

BB: Right now, I’m thinking about Baltimore.

Q: Have you ever talked to Rob Gronkowski about trying to minimize some of this off the field stuff that hits the tabloids?

BB: We talk to our players a lot about a lot of things. I talk to the players every single day other than their day off; I talk to them about a lot of things. We could talk about that all day – covering just a lot of things that we cover.

Q: Do you get a little tired of that?

BB: Talking to the players? I actually enjoy it.

Q: Talking about distractions and their behavior off the field?

BB: What I enjoy is the preparation for our weekly games. That starts the minute after the game to the next game and continues all the way right up to the minute before the game. There are a lot of things involved in that, but I enjoy that part of it. I enjoy the competition of the game. I enjoy the offseason, building the team, going through all those steps, the draft and all those things. I like coaching football.

Q: Would you agree that Rob Gronkowski has a laser focus on the field and off the field stuff would not impact him?

BB: I think Rob, like all players and I’d say like most all of our players, football is important to them, they work hard at it and with every player that we have and every coach that we have, I think there is room for improvement, including me.

Q: What is it about Julian Edelman this year as opposed to previous years that we’re seeing him more involved in the offense?

BB: I’d say that Julian is performing better than he did last year.

Q: How so?

BB: In all areas: assignments, technique, production, consistency.

Q: What were your impressions of Art Jones when he was coming out of Syracuse and what have you seen from him with the Ravens?

BB: Big strong, physical guy; athletic, hard guy to move out of there, like most of their defensive linemen honestly. Big, strong, physical player that plays hard and is tough. That’s the way he was and I think that’s the way he is.